Pig Roaster & Maple Sap Cooker
Here is the modified oil barrel after some hacking welding and painting. This is the closed up view of it sitting on a trailer kit from Northern Tool.
Here are a couple of open views showing two pieces of re-bar, which are spaced about 16 1/8". So looking into a drip tray that is about the same width and 57" to 58" long.
Top door is for adding wood to a grate (future use as a maple syrup evaporator.
Bottom door is for ash sweep out (closed).
Bottom door open.
Back view showing bottom door open. Grease drip would come out here.
Maple Syrup Mode
With the hinge pins (bolts) of the lid removed, the cooker begins its transformation into a maple syrup evaporator. Which begins wiht laying down the fire brick.
The next step is to install the inner sidewalls. You can see slotted angle iron, which holds the panels in place. This second wall was determined to be lighter than the brick and there was concern that more levels of brick would tip over. It should be able to use these panels to contain more levels of brick if the insulation factor was not good enough.
A fire grate is added and again you can see the pieces of angle iron (on either side of the door), which is for holding the side panels in place.
The end panel with a 5" hole for the smoke stack - the idea is to get a reasonable up draft so the air flow is encouraged to follow this path and not find other places to leak through - this idea might be better on paper than it is in practice.
The main evaporator pan is laid in place. This fine piece of engineering is from Phil Nori who consructed this from thin (20 guage) stainless steel so there is good heat transfer (stainless is not as good of a conductor as copper or some other metals). Phil did excellent tig welds to seal this up and added cross flow ribs for a better continuous flow process. A 1/2" full coupler was added so that aflow control valve could be added.
And here is the unit completely assembled. Notice the pre-heating pan resting on top of the main evaporator pan, which is another fine piece of stainless steel work from Phil Nori.
Now it is time to gather sap and get ready for the day of evaporation. Here is a good day with a very heavy bag - on a good day a tree can generate about 1 gallon per tap. I limit the number of taps to 2 per tree but they say you can have one for every 20" of diameter - this would mean my dad's trees could support 3 or 4 taps if we went to the limit. This year (2009) we had 10 taps out between my dad's two trees, Chuck and Mary Ann's tree (neighbors), Jim and Geri's tree (also neighbors) and our two trees.